notre dame montreal

The Daughter of Jairus

Sermon by The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman

Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'" But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?" Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.
When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

A touching story

How must Jairus have been feeling?

His daughter was dying and he was at his wits end, willing to try anything to have her well again

And now Jesus is in town. He’d heard about Him, how He had healed a paralytic, healed a demon possessed man and then calmed a storm, was there an outside chance that He could help his daughter

Normally he’d have kept well away, given Him a wide berth

He was the synagogue ruler and the Jewish authorities were getting nervous about this man Jesus and the message was getting through that He wasn’t to be encouraged. Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t have had anything to do with Him, but this was far from a normal circumstance

Today, Jairus sets out early to meet Jesus and when he sees the crowd who are round Jesus he battles his way to the front to where Jesus is and falls down on his knees and begs Him to come and heal his precious daughter

And to his surprise Jesus says, ‘OK – let’s go’.

They’d just set off and Jairus is explaining to Jesus about his daughter when Jesus stops

‘Who touched me, who touched my clothes’, He asks

‘What do you mean, “Who touched me, who touched my clothes”’ Jairus asks, everyone’s touching us, it’s like a rugby scrum

And slowly, a woman comes forward, her eyes to the ground, and says it was her.

The crowd look at her in disbelief, surely Jesus knows who this is, everyone else does, and they try to avoid her as much as possible. She’s ritually unclean and makes everyone else unclean. How did she get in here?

But it wasn’t touching His clothes which was important – it was reaching out to Jesus Himself

There could not have been a bigger difference between the 2 encounters with Jesus.

Jairus is a man of the (albeit small) community, well known, respected, a man of the law

The woman, because of her illness was an outcast from the community, not respected and largely ignored.

One came face to face with Jesus; the other crept up from behind

Both came with fear, uncertainty and doubt – but also a hope, a faith, if somewhat desperate, that Jesus could so something. Turning to Jesus in their own way in their hour of crisis when they couldn’t take it anymore

Jesus responds to both approaches.

He turns to the woman, restores her to health and the community family by calling her daughter

All the time this is going on Jairus is hopping from one foot to the other, ‘Come on, come on!’, he’s probably thinking

And then it’s too late. Some of his friends come and tell him his daughter has died

Ignoring the news that’s just come, Jesus presses on. He arrives at Jairus’ house, shoos everyone out and goes to see the girl

He reaches out and touches her and says, not abracadabra, but ‘Little girl, get up’ because healing is not magic

And she gets up and she is healed

Just as Jesus has responded the woman’s request and healed her, so He has healed Jairus’ daughter

Jesus responds however we approach Him

Whether we creep up from Him from behind, perhaps with a last desperate lunge when we think everything else has failed hoping nobody notices

Creep up on Him because everything in our lives seems to have crept up upon us and we don’t seem ot have much time left for Him

Or whether we don’t care who sees what’s going on we’re so desperate

Or even if we are asking for someone else

Or whether we just want to encounter Jesus because of what we have heard and seen

Jesus doesn’t turn round and say, ‘You only come to me when you need help’, even if that was true for the woman and Jairus, and ourselves for that matter

However and whenever we reach out to Jesus He responds and transforms our lives by His presence and His touch, transforms our lives by the mere fact that He comes into contact with them

Whether we come with a desperate lunge or fall prostrate before Him, grab at something around Him or seek Him face to face, His response is the same, He transforms our lives for eternity